Notes: For DebC! Happy Holidays! Lana/Pete as the pairing

Prompt: "in his wildest dreams"


I Can Be Your Hero, Baby


“Will you stop fidgeting? I can’t get your tie right if you keep squirming.”

Pete Ross clenched his eyes as tightly as his fists and managed to stay still for all of ten seconds. Releasing his breath in a explosive puff, he looked up at his friend who was grinning at him like a loon.

“Don’t worry. I got it.”
Clark Kent smiled hugely at him. “Who knew that superspeed worked with bowties as well?”

Thanks, man.”

“Hey, no problem. What’s a best man for?”

Pete bounced on his toes for several moments then threw himself whole-heartedly into pacing again.

“Will you calm down?”
Clark asked in a teasing tone. “Why are you so nervous? Isn’t this the day you’ve been dreaming about for over a year now?”

Pete nodded, but kept walking. “She’s going to change her mind. I just know it.”

Pete turned and ran smack into the solid chest of his best friend.

Clark held him in place by putting both of his hands on Pete’s shoulders. “She’s not going to change her mind, Pete. Lana loves you.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re a good man and you make her laugh.”

Pete’s sudden smile wavered. “But why me? Why not you?”

Clark released his shoulders. “We both know why not me.”

“She’d take you back in a second if you’d let her,” Pete said miserably.

Clark shook his head, reached forward to cup Pete’s cheek gently, then slapped it hard enough to make it sting. “You’re an idiot. Lana and I were over years ago.”

Pete looked at him with skepticism in his eyes.

“Yes,”
Clark told him with a reluctant sigh, “I loved her and I always will, but not in the way you think. She will always hold a special place in my heart. I mean, she was my first love. But that’s it. You know that, Pete. Or at least I thought you did.”

Pete dropped his chin to his chest. “I do.”

“Maybe I...maybe I should go,”
Clark said softly. “You--”

Before he could say another word, Pete grabbed him by the elbow. “
Clark. Don’t. I’m sorry. It’s just that every single one of my demons is jumping out of the woodwork and pummeling me. Please. Stay. I just...I just...”

Clark turned back to face him and leaned against the door. “So tell me when you first knew it was love.”

Pete stopped, his smile returning. “I can’t tell you an exact day. It happened gradually. I used to stop by the Talon every time I came home for a visit. Smallville just wasn’t the same without you and Chloe, man. Hell, I was even missing Luthor at that point.” Pete huffed with amusement. “It was just good to see a familiar face, you know?”

Clark nodded, but didn’t say anything.

Pete’s eyes grew distant as he sank into his memories. “She was having trouble with her projector one night and I offered to help.”

“Because you’re such an electronic whiz and all,”
Clark teased.

Pete flashed him a silly grin. “Somehow, between the two of us, we got it working again.” Absently, Pete’s fingers started to trace the patterns on the stained glass window of their little waiting room. “The next evening, I stopped by again. Just to make sure everything was okay, you know?”

Clark nodded.

“We started talking and it felt…good. You know? Before I knew it, I was finding all sorts of reasons to come home for the weekend. As the months passed, I started stopping off at the Talon before I even made it home. There was just something about the way her face lit up when she saw me...” Pete stopped and blushed.

“Go on,”
Clark said, encouragingly. 

“I guessed I figured it out right before my senior year. My car was packed. I had said good-bye to my folks. I stopped by the Talon to say good-bye…”

“And?”
Clark asked.

“I couldn’t make myself leave her. I mean, I tried, right? It got to be a joke. I’d say good-bye, but my feet wouldn’t move. I just stood there like an idiot. She was busting my chop and we were both giggling like idiots when she just leaned forward and kissed me. I thought the gates of heaven had opened.”

“You sound surprised.”

“I was. I mean, on campus I was still holding myself out to be a ladies’ man, chasing girls and being all smooth. Lana was...Lana was just *Lana*, you know? She was the one person I could be myself with, good, bad and ugly. I never tried to impress her because she was like my best friend, and who in the hell falls in love with their best friend?”

“Just the luckiest of souls,”
Clark said softly, a hint of wistfulness in his tone.

“Tell me about it.” Pete turned to face
Clark, knowing every emotion he was feeling was on his face, but needing one final reassurance.

Before he could speak,
Clark raised his hand. “My life is so much more complicated now than when I lived in Smallville. I was trying to do the right thing back then, but in spite of all my best efforts, I was never *there* for the people who were important to me.” He rolled his head back onto his shoulders and stared at the ceiling. “And now, it’s a hundred times worse.” 

Cl--”

Clark shook his head. “Don’t feel sorry for me, Pete. I chose this life.” He looked at Pete, his expression growing even more sober. “Besides, someone has to keep Lex in check, and who better than the person responsible for creating him.”

“You didn’t make Lex choose the dark path,
Clark.”

“I didn’t save him when I had the chance, and I had so many chances.”
Clark straightened and placed himself in front of Pete. “For all the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve also done a lot of good. But know this, Pete; leaving Lana wasn’t a mistake on my part. As much as I care for her, my world is not a safe place. She would always come in second or third or tenth.”

Clark took a deep breath, then ran a hand absently through his hair. “Not to sound like a braggart, but what I do is important. It’s more important than her, it’s more important than any one person could ever be. And Lana deserves better than that. She deserves to have a best friend, a man who can’t bear the thought of leaving her, a man who can be who he truly is around her. That man isn’t me, my friend. It’s you. And I couldn’t be happier.”

Pete bit his lip and nodded, tears stinging his eyes. “Thank you,” he whispered.

“No, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this.”

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be standing here,” Pete confided quietly.

A knock on the door startled them both.

Clark patted him on the back. “It’s time.”

“Do you have the ring?”

Clark’s eyes grew huge. “Ring? What ring?”

“What do you mean ‘what ring’?” Pete all but shrieked.

“Gotcha.”
Clark snickered.

“Man, it’s a good thing you’re invulnerable.”

“Oh, come on, like you didn’t have that coming.”

“Yeah, I suppose I did.”

Clark straightened Pete’s tie one more time, picked the lint off his tuxedo and guided him from the room. “Come, my friend, the bride awaits.”

They stood at the front of the church and waited for the music which would announce the bride’s arrival. After what seemed like an eternity, the organ finally began to play.

Pete turned and watched as Mr. Sullivan escorted Lana down the aisle. Lana’s gaze locked with his and never wavered. With each step she took toward him, his heart grew in size until he was sure everyone in the church could hear his heart sing.

Clark was right. Lana deserved someone who loved her for who she was, who wouldn’t leave her alone to face her own demons while he fought bigger ones. She deserved someone who would be her friend, who would adore her and who would make her the center of his universe. And by all that was good in the world, he vowed to be that man. 

He might not be a super man, but he would be her hero.

~End~ 

 
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
 
A HUGE honking thank you goes to Reetchick for her beta! You rock, girl!